In a world where experimental electronic music exponentially splinters into a multitude of rogue genres that slowly shuffle the globe from demilitarized dance floors to sleeper cell bedroom studios and back, a team of disparate scientists tracks this solanum-like pandemic while desperately trying to interpret cryptic field recordings of Samhain’s past, not one day at a time, but from Amen to Zombie…
Yes, yes October is finally here. Already buses are traveling around town with orange and black signs advertising for some of the up and coming haunted houses. Which means I only have 31 days to track down any Halloween related CD and cassettes. Starting Oct 7th that is. I think it takes about a week for every mom and pop to get their act together and put out the minimal amount of Halloween schwag that will keep foot traffic coming into their stores. This is usually where you find the best stuff. And I just booked a flight to Boston to go visit a friend. If I could somehow get to Salem for Halloween AND find some CDs, well that would just be a stone groove now wouldn’t it? Anyway on with the show…
There’s some 8 count call and response on this page. Something I really don’t like, it’s lazy. Or maybe easily abused. Although a good learning tool for producers I guess. Or maybe it’s just a natural reflex when your building repetitive music. Not in any pejorative sense, just that this music is obviously conscious of repetition. But an easy way to beef up your production is to just run that twisted bass sound through a flanger before going right back to that same bass sound. Crude but effective. Check Angle: “Bubbler” for an example. Just like cutting the bass for a bar and then slamming it back in. Everyone is all hands in the air. That’s a key point for my interest in d&b, there is this churning maelström of drum sounds you can dig into, past the snare on the 3, 6, 10, & 13 holding the whole thing together. There’s all these strange time signatures darting in and out that you can try to wrap your head around. Or you can just nod your head to the snare. Either way, if the producer has done something interesting, you won’t be sure they’ve done anything at all.
Allied & Pylon / Yabol & Walder: “Osiris/Dyskinesia”
More techno vibes from Sinuous. This one is a buy for no other reason then it’s like if the A-Team were to build d&b. Four kind-0f-new producers really serving their tunes well by skimming the cream and going with that. No confusion of styles or over production that you can sometimes get when you throw a bunch of heads together. Like the way “Dirge” from the Lifted 003 release sounded like too many cooks trying to be too hardcore. Sometimes if you put all these talented producers on the same mission everyone wants to be Mr. T. You need balance. This is a big 12″ because both sides could be the A. Another great tune that’s got some heavy weight egos on it is “Standing Room Only” with Hive, Gridlok, & dBridge. Should sound like the most over produced piece of crap record that’s impossible to use because you need to play it from the edge every time, BUT it’s a great tune with the personality of all three producers in proper amounts. More on Hive and Violence Recordings when we get to H.
Amaning: “Parkside/The Limit” & “No Return/Picky”
Amaning is a new name for me and here’s the reason why: on this particular page Amaning’s got four records up for purchase. Two of which are on the Jerona Fruits imprint. I remember listening to a podcast from the d&b arena maybe two years ago (?) which was showcasing some of the Jerona Fruits producers and releases. And it was boring. Oh my o’ my was it ever boring. The same middle of the road d&b tunes with these label heads dribbling on about how great their tunes were. I think at one point one of the punters says something like “Listen to the second horn drop on this one, it’ll make you go all whippy.” So I listened, and laughed at some half-assed horn lick chirped on. Embarrassing in that way that someone does something to try and be cool or get laid, but is lacking that essential confidence in their opinion. They just know that cool looks something like a horn drop that will make you go all whippy, but they have no idea how to produce such a sound. You may have spotted similar types shopping at Hot Topic for Invader Zim gear. Have the 7 chuckles that Kat Williams told you to have, then make your way to the exit ’cause what are you doing at the mall anyway? Elsewhere: So the Jerona Fruits releases are not going to be the one, but “Parkside/The Limit” on Sole Recordings (which have only released 3 records back in ’07) is a nice 12″ waiting to be discovered. “No Return” is a nice smooth amen work out with light and dark feelings on it. The flip, “Picky” is actually by Leks, but is still a nice roller. Amaning has also worked & released records with Loxy that I haven’t heard yet, but sounds like a worthwhile experience based on these releases. One to keep an eye on for Shure.
Amit/Outrage: “The Sickness/Insane Bitch”
Oh, boy. I get to tell you about Amit. I think I might pee. Amit Kamboj is a man that has done the impossible, or nearly impossible within the spectrum of d&b music. He’s been creating music that sits comfortably within d&b sets, uses all the key BPM and sample guidelines that would connote and invoke d&b, but yet it doesn’t sound like the d&b you would immediately recognize. It’s as if Amit has taken all the sounds in one bar of a typical d&b track and has collage-d them in such a way that sounds like nothing else. A couple of big bass drums here, rattling hi-hats there, lots of cavernous delay, mechanical and natural sounding gongs, and then a snare at the end of the bar. Repeat and watch the magic happen. Amit’s sound is so singular, that you’d immediately get called out if you tried to make the structure of your breaks even remotely sound like his. I think there might be one Rufige Kru track on Memoirs of an Afterlife and “Detox” by Hive & Tech Itch that even come close to approximating Amit’s style. But they don’t fly too close to the sun, “Detox” is an amazing track that straddles the d&b/dubstep much the same way that Amit’s music does. Although I think Amit’s musical ideas were forming while the dubstep scene was congealing and that scene was defining itself in London and Bristol. His first release on Commercial Suicide was in 2002. But it’s shorthand to compare Amit’s music to either d&b or dubstep. Maybe the fact that Amit’s style usually employs one snare per bar that makes comparisons to dubstep easy. But there’s lots of robotic switch blade cymbal work which would draw comparisons to d&b. The only thing I can say is go to the Commercial Suicide site and buy Never Ending. His music has got futuristic bass just oozing out of your bass bins. And I feel like if Never Ending was to be seen in your CD collection people would consider you a taste maker. I invite everyone to explore Amit’s music. You won’t be disappointed. And according to the Commercial Suicide bio Amit mentors inner-city kids to be producers. So not only is he pushing genre boundries, but he’s also grooming the next generation. Sidebar, Amit is one of the names of the Hindi god Ganesha, and in Hebrew means “friend.” You two should be friends.
Anglezero: “Recess (Martsman rmx)/Bluetone”
My secret dream about labels like Warm Communications is that they are run by mad scientists and that you have to have a day job in something like sleep medicine or telekenisis and be a part of some seceret society to release stuff on those labels. Anglezero is hopefully a nod to Neon Genesis Evangelion. Bass music blasted through a prism of sci-fi landscapes. Too bad Warm Communications doesn’t have that much output. Recent activity on the label is limited to this 12″ and a similarly amazing LP by Polar. But when you release such futuristic music, I guess it takes everyone’s ears a bit to catch up. Or for you to travel back in time to release it. Headphone business for your trip into space to pilot a giant beast that is encased in a super strong alloyed armor that looks like a robot but is actually a monstrous fallen angle that you have to mind meld with in order to control. Should you ever find yourself in that situation or just want to approximate it.
So it goes.